NEW YORK: May 28, 2008
The Services of Metropolitan Hilarion
May 11/24, 2008
His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Chapel of St John of Kronstadt. The Rector of the Church, Priest Vadim Arefiev, also heads the House of Love of Labor dedicated to the saint, who was renowned for his self-sacrifice, unlimited mercy and love. The House was established for those who were left homeless as a result of addition to alcohol or narcotics. Through the efforts of Fr Vadim and his fellow laborers—former residents of the House of Love of Labor who have recovered—many of those who suffer have found consolation, sympathy and love, and thus turned to God. The House is in dire material need, and carries on its holy task in great need to own its own building. The helpers do not despair, but try to overcome all obstacles in order to help the needy. His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion has given his blessing to Fr Vadim and his helpers in this God-pleasing matter and has invoked the Lord's help, that they may continue this arduous but gracious work of helping the unfortunate.
His Eminence was joined in service by Hegumen Ioann (Magramm), Priest Alexander Botschagow and the Rector, Fr Vadim.
That evening, at all-night vigil at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign, His Eminence emerged for the polyeleos with Fr Ioann and Igumen Tikhon (Amelchenya), along with Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff.
Sunday, May 12/25
On early Sunday morning, His Eminence, Fr Ioann and Protopriest Michael Boikov, his Personal Secretary, headed for St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Lakewood (Howell), NJ. His Eminence Vladyka was greeted by one of the senior clerics of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov. His Eminence was joined in celebrating Divine Liturgy by the above clergymen, along with Protopriest Philip Petrovsky and Priest Seraphim Chemodakov, along with Deacon Nicholas Olhovsky. Fifteen acolytes assisted in the altar. After the ambo prayer, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia delivered a sermon on the Gospel's account of the conversation of the Savior with the Samaritan woman. It is noteworthy that this conversation was with a representative of a people whom the Jews considered outcasts. The Lord here opened the fullness of His teaching on the salvation of mankind. The woman was so struck by the words of the Savior that she believed in Him as the long-awaited Redeemer and Messiah. The name of this Samaritan woman was Photini, which in Greek means "light-seeing," "Svetlana" in Russian. His Eminence Vladyka congratulated all those named Svetlana and wished them God's help and many years.
Vladyka noted that all who genuinely worship God must pray from the depths of their soul and in earnest. Many have now turned away from the true God, saying that God is one and it is not important to which faith one adheres. This is an enormous error. Indeed, God is one, but He is the One of Whom He preached, all else is error. We must with all our souls try to fulfill the Divine testaments, we must pray in earnest and honestly, and the Lord in His mercy will sate us with the water of His grace. Everything the Lord gives us through the Church through the Mysteries is the water of life of which the Savior told the Samaritan woman. If we strive to obtain this water of life, we will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
After Liturgy, the worshipers were offered a festal trapeza, after which Fr Valery expressed the profound gratitude of all the parishioners to His Eminence for his visit. Vladyka in turn thanked Fr Valery for his labors in the vineyard of Christ.
On the way back from Lakewood, Metropolitan Hilarion visited the Parish of the Icon of the Mother of God "Unexpected Joy," on Staten Island, NY. This was the first episcopal visit to the young parish, which is the only Russian church on the island. Its parishioners awaited Vladyka all day, hoping to welcome him and receive his blessing, and to talk with him. After the greeting of the Metropolitan, Protopriest Elias Gorsky served a brief moleben and intoned Many Years to Metropolitan Hilarion. In addition to Fr Elias, the Rector, Protopriest George Kallaur, and Priest Alexander Botschagow and a group of laypersons were in attendance. Afterwards, a photograph of everyone was taken with His Eminence. Thereupon, everyone was invited to the Reverend Rector's home for a visit.